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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: April 2024

What to Do When Preparing for Burials and Cremations

Michael L Goldblatt


  • Funeral planning can be overwhelming, here are the resources to help. 
What to Do When Preparing for Burials and Cremations

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About 3.5 million Americans died in 2023 from cancer, heart attacks, and other causes. The annual number of deaths will start increasing in 2030 when the oldest Baby Boomers turn 84. Funeral costs can range upward from $10,000 for burials and $4,000 for cremations. Funeral planning can prevent logistical problems and family strife. Planning can also help contain costs. Before you die, do your family a favor by discussing funeral plans with them. Following are lists of considerations and resources to help you.


  • Attorney – consult a certified estate lawyer to update documents and plan administration. 
  • Burial – avoid family misunderstandings by discussing preferences; consider cremation to reduce costs.
  • Location – select a cemetery and plot; consider scattering ashes.
  • Manager – appoint your spouse or a trusted family member as an agent to protect your preferences.
  • Mortician – discuss arrangements and pricing with a funeral home; buy only what you need.
  • Notification – prepare a list of people you want notified of funeral arrangements.
  • Officiant – select an officiant to lead the service; designate loved ones to deliver eulogies.
  • Service – choose a location (church, graveside, home, virtual, etc.), select a type (celebration of life or traditional), and prepare displays.
  • Timing – funerals usually happen within a week of death but can be delayed by family travel, organ donations, foul play, transporting the body, or weather.